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Anyone who has ever been in a long term relationship can attest to the fact that some of the things that we love about our significant other can end up annoying us in the long run. And if this is the case, how do we determine if the relationship will survive the long haul? These ideas are at the heart of the mature romantic comedy Enough Said. The film isn’t breaking new ground by any means, but writer/director Nicole Holofcener has a very funny script and two great lead performances to aid her along the way.

Eva (Julia Louis-Dreyfus) is a divorced masseuse who begins dating Albert (James Gandolfini) a sweet guy, who has also been through a divorce. Eva also begins forming a friendship with Marianne (Catherine Keener) a woman who constantly complains about her ex-husband. When Eva secretly discovers that Albert and Marianne were once married, she is left with a dilemma: does she come clean and confess her relationship to the two of them, or does she pretend to be oblivious and learn as much as she can about Albert through his ex-wife?

Although not his final feature film (that is set to be released sometime next year) this is one of James Gandolfini’s final films and his performance is a terrific one to remember him by. Albert is such a lovable guy and Gandolfini is so charming in the role, that audiences are sure to fall in love with him. Albert is also very funny and Gandolfini gets huge laughs with his character’s dry sense of humor. Julia Louis-Dreyfus is just as good, creating surprisingly great chemistry with Gandolfini. She even pulls off her emotional scenes with incredible ease. A late scene in the film, in which she says goodbye to her college-bound daughter, is heartbreaking.

As the film reaches its third act, the plot begins to grow slightly predictable and some scenes become overly sentimentalized. In one particular scene, Holofcener makes use of an emotional pop song in order to manipulate the audience into feeling emotion, which was unnecessary because the scene was acted and put together so well that it would have been emotional regardless. Also dragging the film down, are some strange subplots that ultimately lead nowhere, the strangest of these being a subplot in which Eva’s daughter (Tracey Fairaway) begins to grow jealous of the amount of time that her mother is spending with her best friend.

Luckily, these problems do not ruin the entire film. For the most part, the script remains smart, avoiding most of the clichés that romantic films tend to run into and the performances remain strong. Without giving anything away, the film’s final scene is both poignant and bittersweet. It is able to please audiences, without resorting to a schmaltzy romantic ending. Again, none of this could have been achieved without the two fantastic lead performances. James Gandolfini may be gone, but his performances (including his performance in Enough Said) will live on for years to come.

 

Enough Said receives 2.5/4 

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